I am at the 50th Annual meeting of the collaborating centres of the International Labour Organization (ILO). CCOHS is one of those collaborating centres, with 60 member countries represented here.
I led off the meeting with a summary of initiatives and discussions in the last year.
There has been a fundamental recognition of the impact of changing technology and environment on the structure and strategy of the collaborating network within the ILO. I presented to the ILO the feedback from the ILO collaborating centres’ input to date on the re-focus of the ILO strategy on occupational health and safety systems, programs and products.
I am committed to the framework of a network of collaborating centres – but it must be adaptive and responsive to present realities. We have to shift our focus regularly and ask whether we are being effective as an organization in our initiatives and able to demonstrate progress. In this context, CCOHS is committed to working within the network towards a needs-based approach and to support the mobilization of available expertise and products.
The second day of meetings of the ILO network began with my being voted to chair their “Knowledge and Information Sharing Tools” group.
These are always lively discussions that highlight the opportunity to share established solutions and resources. This dialogue underscores the stark differences between the developing and developed countries, but, for me, the even greater issue is the significant commonality in challenges between all countries. Everyone is struggling with diminishing resources, increasing needs, accessing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and training of vulnerable or migrant workers – to name a few.
There is a compelling need created by the new environment for collaboration and the exchange of expertise to ensure we meet our common goals. These networks have to be built on a platform of reciprocal relationships, where resources are exchanged freely to the benefit of all.
I am looking forward to working collaboratively within these networks to meet the challenges that lay ahead.